So I’ve decided to blog about my solo Thailand holiday. This may serve as a helpful guide of what to do or… not to do (in my case) for anyone planning to travel Thailand alone. It’s also a bit of diary and something to look back on!
My very loose plan is to spend a couple of days in Bangkok, then move to the Islands (Koh Pangnan, Phuket, etc).
Travelling in style
So I travelled from Gatwick, with a stopover in Istanbul. Travel time was roughly around 18 hours, which was pretty painful. Flying business class eased the pain a little though. You get a nice bit of legroom and you get to take advantage of the posh airport lounges. Lots of inclusive food (buffet style) and drinks, including alcohol. Business class with Turkish airlines is cheaper than other airlines, you should definitely take a look if you have the budget.
I know what you’re thinking. What a dickhead. Thinks he’s a travelling backpacker when all he’s done is gone on holiday for two weeks in Thailand business class. You’re pretty much right…
Arriving in Bangkok
Once you get through immigration it’s pretty easy to get a taxi outside. One thing that got me as soon as I walked out the airport doors was the humidity. It feels so muggy, but not painfully hot. I would draw some cash out – I still have no idea about the exchange rate, but a taxi to Bangkok city should be around 200-300 Baht (if I remember correctly). Have your hotel address to hand and just show it the driver.
Once I got into main Bangkok it looked pretty crazy. Lots of lights, markets, crazy tuk tuks and generally weird stuff going on. I’ve come in the ‘wet season’, so there’s quite a bit of rain. It was raining on the journey to the hotel.
Hotel vs Hostel?
You should decide if you want to stay in a hostel or a hotel – A hostel when travelling alone is a good bet if you’re the social extroverted type and want to meet lots of people (Which I’m not). That was my initial plan, but after the long flight and a case of jet lag, I wanted my own space. I decided to go for a hotel for my 2 nights in Bangkok. It’s called Aloft, and it’s very funky. It has a rooftop pool, gym, 24/7 bars and cafes. I’m just missing the social aspect of meeting new people. That’s okay, I like my own space. I may do a hostel later on in the trip. I’m a fake backpacker remember, I like my luxuries.
One thing I would say is stay near Koh San Road if you’re looking to party. My hotel is in Sukhumvit (try saying that to a Thai taxi driver!), and it’s about 45 minutes away from the main strip of clubs and pubs. Koh San Road is near the canals and temples too, which you’ll want to check out.
Once I got changed and ready in the hotel I decided to head straight out. I’d ate so much on the plane I weren’t really hungry. I got straight on a tuk tuk, there’s loads everywhere! They’re cooler than taxis, you get a bit of a breeze… and… it’s a tuk tuk, what else can I say.
With my trusty ‘Explore Thailand’ book with me I showed the driver the address of where I wanted to go. A place called ‘Tuba’, which is half furniture shop, half pub. He squinted for a long while at the page. He had no idea of what or where it was. But he told me to get in anyway. We set off…
One thing that’s annoying me with Bangkok. It’s a car park. Traffic is at a standstill on most roads. I thought something may have been going on like some event. After only moving what seemed like half a mile in 20 minutes, I just asked him to point me in the right direction and I’ll walk. I thought the place was pretty close. He pointed in a direction and I paid and started weaving through a dual carriage way of static traffic.
I didn’t come across Tuba on the road he pointed up.
I go to a fruit stall and ask the lady. She tells me to catch a bus. Having had enough of the traffic for a while I ask her if she can recommend anywhere close by. She points me up the road to one of the strangest places I’ve ever been to.
Cabbages & Condoms.
They promote safe sex. Lot’s of weird condom art all over the walls. I sit down and have a beer. When the bills paid they give you a free condom. Weird. I actually later found out they do a lot of charity work too. Worth checking out if you’re in Sukhumvit.
I decide to have more of a wonder round and end up in an Irish pub. Having realised I’m not in a busy area I decide to call upon some friends on Facebook to help out.
It seems I need to head to Koh San Road. I decide to grin and bare the taxi ride. It can’t be that far, surely.
After around half hour in the taxi I get impatient again. I ask the taxi driver how much longer he says maybe another half hour. So I ask him to take me somewhere closer for drinks. He takes me to Patpong… Hmmm.
Patpong is known for it’s sleaze and infamous red light district I later found out. One of my friends Jade had recommended I go to a ping pong show? Not sure what it is but it didn’t sound like it was actually a ping pong show.
I had a walk down the strip and stopped at a real friendly bar. Had a quick drink and decided to move on. The rest of it was basically strip bars and ‘massage’ parlours. I decide to jump in a taxi and put up with the 30 minute ride to Koh San Road. It seems to take forever, but I finally get there…
Koh San Road
It’s pretty crazy, but smaller than I thought. It’s one short road, seemingly, unless I’m missing something. Along it are big open bars with lots of music, dancing, live acts. There’s lots of street food too that actually looks quite decent!
I head into one bar and have a Chang. I love Chang by the way. It’s like the Thai Carling.
In there I meet a new fwenddd. Aww.
If you’re travelling alone in Thailand it’s best to try and make some pals unless you want to look like a loner all night. To be honest though, I’m not great at casually walking up to strangers asking them to put up with me. Thankfully Jesper, from Norway, asked if he could take a seat on my table.
We headed to another bar before Jesper decided to call it a night.
Me being me, I go to another bar and have a few drinks and even a dance. Well. Sort of raising my hands a little bit and nodding to the beat of the music. One of the bars actually leaked into the street. So I was doing a bit of Jagger and Bowie. It was like some kind of festival. Maybe it was.
I finally decide to head back around 2am in a tuk tuk. It was really hard to explain where my hotel was, so it’s always best to have the address on your phone! It took around an hour. I took some shaky go pro footage to pass the time.
Upon getting back to the hotel I realised I’d lost my bank card. Sound. This caused me more problems on day 2.
I ordered a toastie from the 24/7 cafe and hit the sack.
- Stay near Koh San Road
- Accept that traffic is terrible
- Don’t lose your bank card